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A crisis in giving

November 24, 2016 23:22

It will surprise - perhaps even shock - many readers to realise the scale of the funding crisis facing our major welfare charities.

A destructive cocktail of cuts, in real terms, in state contributions, the National Living Wage, and recruitment problems, means that even the likes of Jewish Care and Norwood are having to grapple with fundamental issues, questioning every aspect of what they do and how they pay for it.

When we read about the huge sums raised at fundraising dinners - £5 million here, £4 million there - it is easy to think that everything is rosy. But when one realises that the National Living Wage alone will add £4 million to Jewish Care's costs, the scale of the problem becomes clear.

And there is an added element to it. Most welfare charities have a vast potential pool from which to draw funding. Jewish charities do not.

To put it bluntly, Jewish charities have, at most, around 260,000 potential donors - the UK's Jewish population. Among that group, younger generations are giving to a far wider range and number of non-Jewish charities than their elders.

That means that, unless the scale of Jewish giving increases overall, there is - by definition - less money available to Jewish charities. And this at the very time when, because of demographic changes and an ageing population, the demand for their services is greater than ever. All this means that our community has some urgent thinking to do.

To take just two issues: Are there too many charities operating in the same field? And is our commitment to raising money for Israel - a wealthy, successful and proud nation - now still appropriate, given our own funding problems?

Whatever the answer, these questions can no longer be avoided.

November 24, 2016 23:22

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